What are Developmental and Gross Anatomy?

Gross anatomy refers to the study of large-scale anatomy, outside the microscope. It is the study of the structure of the body and various parts of it. The term gross identifies and separates it from other types of anatomical study such as histology which refers to the microscopic study of anatomy using a microscope. 

Developmental anatomy studies the structural or anatomical changes from the time of fertilization to maturity. Gross anatomy studies the shift or changes that can be seen over time. Such studies can be conducted either by dissection or observation of body parts that are large enough to be seen without microscopes. Dissection is basic to anatomical studies and research and is an ancient discipline.

Basic science courses in medical school almost always include developmental anatomy. 

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What is anatomy? What is Gross Anatomy?

Anatomy is the field in biological sciences that concerns identifying and describing the structures of bodies of living organisms. Developmental or gross anatomy lies in the field of embryology. It is concerned with the changes which are undergone by tissues, cells, body organs, etc., and the body as a whole. This study includes both prenatal and postnatal development. 

Gross anatomy studies development from the very onset—production of gametes, fertilization to a full-grown adult till death. They understand the genetic and cellular aspects of an organism’s development. Students study how development has changed during evolution and is continuing to change. 

Change in development is studied by using genomics, genetics, microscopy, biochemistry, and other related concepts to have an advanced understanding of growth and development.   

What is developmental biology? 

Previously, knowledge about the body was acquired by treating wounds, caring for others in illnesses, childbirth, etc. And most concepts about the human body were more of a speculation than actual findings. With developmental anatomy students and researchers discover how some interacting processes can result in changes in an organism’s shape, size, and structure starting from an embryo to an adult form. It is essential to study developmental anatomy to understand evolution. 

Importance of Gross Anatomy

Developmental anatomy is not studied for mere curiosity. It helps in understanding the greater challenges faced by the human population. Developmental defects are common in humans and by studying every aspect of the body, doctors can reach decisions and help us with remedies. Relevant studies can help researchers come up with sustainable methods of food and nourishment. 

Gross anatomy has been most effective in delivering reasons for diseases and medically relevant processes such as infertility, neonatal death, birth defects like deformation, growth abnormalities, brain disorders, blindness, deafness, etc.  

By asking the fundamental questions, developmental anatomy serves as the generator for new ideas in modern biomedical sciences. Developmental anatomy is exciting as it studies the different levels of biological complexities and consequently gets to the core reason of something.